The power of trauma

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This morning as I rolled over and opened my eyes I was immediately greeted by dread.  The first thing I do before I get out of bed is pray, it is also the last thing I do before I close my eyes to sleep.   What am I dreading?  I had hoped to recover by taking very deep breaths, throwing in some 5 minute meditation time, but it clung to me like saran wrap.   Breathe, breathe, breathe.   Breathe, breathe, breathe.  I so despise this feeling, who wouldn’t?   

There are both positives and negatives from being intuitive, when negative things pop into my mind, when my body coasts in discord I worry, I question, I hyperventilate more.   I remind myself that feelings aren’t facts, that everything I think isn’t true, and my mind, while one of the most incredible gifts, deceives me at times. 

Fortunately I had therapy today.   We chatted about what I had been thinking on this trying day.  I have been seeing this therapist for a year and a half, she has helped me immensely.   I trust her.  Trust is hard for me, and this is the basis on which we conversed today.  She handed me a print out, asked me to read it, could I relate to this?   I sat, reading the circle of actions, of things happen to people who have had trauma.  If it weren’t for TMJ I think my jaw would be sitting on my chest.  Bulleted from the word “Trauma” were the following:  Depression, irritability, loss of interest, decreased concentration, insomnia, emotional overwhelm, loss of a sense of the future (hopelessness), shame and worthlessness, little or no memories, nightmares flashbacks, hyper vigilance mistrust, generalized anxiety & panic attacks, chronic pain & headaches, substance abuse and/or eating disorders, feeling unreal or out of body, self destructive behavior, loss of sense of “Whom I am”.   There, being held by my shaky hands and read by my tired eyes, was a description of me.   Well, all except for the irritability!  KIDDING.   Underneath the following words entered into my being and I felt validated.  “Trauma survivors have symptoms instead of memories”.  Holy shit!

Trauma causes “Disorganized Attachment”.  Is it safe to be attached?   A barrage of feelings came up, I could feel my thoughts drifting away.  Typically when we hit upon something that is tough for me, my mind diverts to something else.  This is trained behavior, this is a survival behavior.  This is how I have lived for many many years.   Trauma is different for everyone, think about how different we all are, the buttons that can be pushed, the pain from things that have injured our psyche.   I need not get into mine, nor do I care to share it, I don’t think it’s but one thing, but several.  I have petrified of intimacy (allowing others close to me), particularly men.  I am also petrified of commitment.   I struggle between the yearning to attach, conflicting with my need to be safe. Paradoxical.  While this isn’t new information for me.  That which is new, hopeful, is that an international, national professor who studies trauma believes THIS CAN BE CHANGED!  Deep sighs, deep breath…. relief, hope, return to self.

 I don’t have to continue through life with this knapsack of crap on my back.   The more I allow my fears to enter my thoughts, the larger it becomes.  Deep breath, deep sigh…yes, it makes sense.  I have struggled with fear of abandonment most of my adult life.  My self destructive behavior abandons others before they, me.  Self taught thoughts, actions on how to push others away when they are getting too close, I’ve become an expert at this.   The bottom line of all of this is that by thinking this way, by feeling this way, by acting this way, I become a prisoner of my own bars.   I am chasing my own tail, round and round I go, until I become so exhausted I crash.  Exhaustion typically brings my defense mechanisms to the lowest level, and it is at this time that I am able to take in all that has transpired in my mind, or in reality.  Notice I separate the two.

I am reminded of a time when I had left the hospital after saying goodbye to my sister.  Apparently I drove in the out because a guy started blasting his horn and flipped me the bird, screamed out his window at me what an asshole I was.  I remember looking at him, in confusion, it wasn’t as if this was a big deal, there were no traffic lights, it wasn’t a highway.  I was entering into the pharmacy to fill my anxiety meds.   If I had felt better I too would probably have flipped him off, or better yet, smiled at him and blown him a kiss.  I vacillate between the two.  Instead I was in a fog, everything was surreal and yet it was untouchable, unreachable.    Because of this incident, I   remind myself, sometimes daily, that we never know what is going on with another person.  We don’t know if they are in fight/flight, or if they are just being assholes!   When someone cuts me off, I let it go.  When someone blows steam at me, I let it go, until they hit at my core.   I will defend myself, and it won’t be pretty.  I can swear like a parrot and I stick to the defense that MY FATHER was in the navy!

I don’t know if I am making any sense, as I am having a hard time returning to myself, aligning my thoughts with my physical being.   It has been a full day of anxiety, of walking the edge and I am depleted. 

The good news is, I can retrain my thoughts!  The good news is, I can retrain my thoughts!  The good news is, I can retrain my thoughts!  Decorated with one other gift of hope…my desire and determination to do so.     It will not be easy, it will not be without tears, fear, but I will do this, I will succeed.  Wait and see! 🙂

 

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